Cumberland Highlanders

Cumberland Mountain Home

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The Cumberland Highlanders Show is a television program produced out of London, KY, by a shifting assemblage of bluegrass musicians with a wealth of experience between them -- the group has, at various times, included former members of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys, the Stony Mountain Boys, the Wilson Brothers Band and others. This is the first album recorded under the Cumberland Highlanders moniker, and it's impressive, if not flawless. What's most striking is the band's instrumental assurance and skill; these are old pros, and they know how to support each other and how to resist the allure of speed-for-speed's sake. The twin fiddles on "Shackles and Chains" and "I've Lived a Lot" are especially nice, as is Tater Tate's unusual walking bassline on "Tomorrow Darling Is My Birthday.." The best vocal moments come when Russell Wilson is singing lead and when guest artist Ralph Stanley is at the mic; when both take place on the same track (as on Harbor of Love), the results are spectacular. Elsewhere, the vocals are a bit weaker. But this is an album that will surely appeal to fans of traditional bluegrass.

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